Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Hunters of Skagen”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, 85 x 139 cm, Private Collection

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Italian Field Laborers, Abruzzo”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 124.3 x 186 cm, Funen’s Art Museum, Odense, Denmark

Born in July of 1851 in Stavanger, Peder Severin Krøyer was one of the foremost Impressionist painters from Denmark. After moving to Copenhagen at a young age, he began studying painting at the Royal Danish Academy, under realist portrait painter Frederik Vermehren. Kreyer completed his studies in 1870. 

Krøyer had his first exhibition in 1871 at the Charlottenborg Palace, where he presented a portrait of his friend, painter Frans Schwartz. In 1873, he was awarded a gold medal for his work and also received a scholarship. Establishing a long-standing patronage, Danish art collector Heinrich Hirschsprung bought in 1874 the first of many paintings by Krøyer.

From 1877 to 1881, Peder Krøyer traveled throughout Europe where he studied, met artists and developed his skills at painting. Staying in Paris under the patronage of Hirschsprung, he studied under portrait and religious painter Léon Bonnat and exhibited his work in Denmark. Krøyer, during his stay in Paris, became acquainted with the works of the impressionists such as Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Georges Seurat. Impressed with their work, he kept his palette light in tones and loosened his brushstroke. 

Returning to Denmark in 1882, Krøyer became associated with the Skagen artist colony, a group influenced by the French Impressionists. The colony’s artists placed an emphasis on the effects of light and open-air scenes of local life. Krøyer divided his time between Copenhagen, where he continued his portraiture work, and Skagan, where he painted the artist colony and local landscape.

Peder Krøyer encountered painter Marie Martha Triepcke on a trip to Paris in 1888. They married in July of 1889 at her parents’ residence in Germany. Settled with his wife in the Skagen colony, Krøyer executed his first major oil painting, the 1888 “Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists Party at Skagen”. Inspired by a gathering at painter Michael Ancher’s residence, the painting depicts men and women toasting with champagne amid lush trees; gentle sunlight is seen being cast upon the participants and their table.

A champion of plein air painting, Krøyer is best known for his carefree images of life in Skagen. He was fascinated with the depiction of light; his main study was the depiction of the “blue hour”, that point as the day becomes evening when the sky and sea merge in the same tone of blue. Examples of this light depiction are the 1892 “Summer Evening at Skagen” and the 1893 “Summer Evening on Skagen’s South Beach with Anna Ancher ad Marie Krøyer”. 

Over the last ten years of his life, Krøyer’s  eyesight gradually failed him until he was totally blind. He painted almost to the end, even executing masterpieces while half-blind. One of his last important large-scale works was the 1906 “Midsummer’s Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”, now in the Skagens Museum. After many visits to the hospital suffering from bouts of mental illness, Peder Severin Krøyer passed away in Skagen at the age of fifty-eight in November of 1909.

Peder Krøyer achieved many prestigious awards during his lifetime, including induction into the Legion of Honor in 1888. The largest collection of Krøyer’s work can be found in the Skagens Museum; other museum collections include the Danish National Gallery, the Frederiksborg Museum, the Musée d’Orsey in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen.

Insert Images: Peder Severin Krøyer, “Self Portrait”, 1897, Oil on Panel, 40.9 x 31.6 cm, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

Peder Severin Krøyer,, “The Artist’s House”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas

Photographer Unknown, “Peder Severin Krøyer:, Date Unknown

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